1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

Robert Southey to Dr. Southey, 16 February 1815; in Life and Correspondence (1849-50) 4:105.



Nothing can be more absurd than thinking of comparing any of my poems with the Paradise Lost. With Tasso, with Virgil, with Homer, there may be fair ground for comparison; but my mind is wholly unlike Milton's, and my poetry has nothing of his imagination and distinguishing character; nor is there any poet who has, except Wordsworth: he possesses it in an equal degree. And it is entirely impossible that any man can understand Milton, and fail to perceive that Wordsworth is a poet of the same class and of equal powers. Whatever my powers may be, they are not of that class.